‘It’s beautiful’: elderly woman grateful after volunteers restore her fence

Some volunteers helped out a southern Alberta woman on Monday after her white picket fence had fallen into disrepair.

“It’s an eyesore, it’s not nice looking,” Ailene Vandermolen said of her fence.

The elderly woman has lived in her home for over 60 years and says she has worked hard to keep her house in good condition.

“There were only two owners who have lived in this house,” she said. “My husband’s parents and ourselves.”

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Keeping her house in top condition is important to Vandermolen, as it was to her late husband, Dick.

“He passed away three years ago,” she said.  “Otherwise he would be doing the fence.”

Unable to take on the restoration project herself, she enlisted the help of the not-for-profit organization, Project Paintbrush.

“It has to be nice looking,” she said. “When something wears out you have to make it look good.”

Monday morning, volunteers from Edenbridge Family Services arrived to donate their time to help Vandermolen. They started with the hard work – scraping and sanding.

Hard work is something Vandermolen said her late husband instilled in their six children, and something that has served them well their entire lives.

“It’s done a lot of good,” she said. “They don’t have to have a maintenance man come over to do it for them.”

Vandermolen said she was extremely grateful for the help of the volunteers.

“I think it’s beautiful that they’re willing to do this for nothing,” she said.” Just because they feel like doing something worthwhile – it really means a lot to me.”

The young volunteers also gained a sense of pride, work ethic and acquired new skills.

“It’s not just painting,” Project Paintbrush’s Jason Cousin said. “You learn new skills, you make new friends and you better your community.”

“It gives you a chance to learn new things and help out around the community” volunteer Angelica Nash said.

After sanding hundreds of boards and applying two layers of paint, the exhausted volunteers could be proud of their accomplishment knowing that Ailene and Dick’s fence is restored to its former glory.